BERNADOTTE, Il.--A recent bridge collapse over the Spoon River is causing an environmental crisis in the small town of Bernadotte.
Hundreds of dead fish are being washed up at the Bernadotte Dam.
The dam is down river from the real source of the problem, a bridge collapse in Seville that sent 6 train cars into the Spoon River on September 16th.
Environmental officials are saying a rupture in one of the train’s tank cars leaked thousands of gallons of corn syrup into the river.
Ralph Foster of the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency said, “We’re estimating 16,000 gallons from the one tank and 4 to 5 thousand from the other tanks.”
Clean up crews discovered the large leak after the train cars had been removed, but the damage is done.
Nearly 500 fish have been killed at this point most of which are Asian carp.
Railway employees are now working to clean up the dead fish.
Foster says the corn syrup is suffocating the fish.
Foster said, “As it degrades it uses the oxygen in the water not leaving enough oxygen in the water for the fish to sustain themselves. The other conjecture we’ve had is that it may coat their gills and cause them not to be able to breathe.”
Oxygen is being pumped into the water to try and help the situation.
At this point the corn syrup cannot be removed because it has mixed in with the water.
Foster says eventually the corn syrup will become diluted and the water will be back to normal.
Crews will continue cleaning up the dead fish until the problem is resolved.